Suzanne Cornell wrote:... How would you go about doing this on a large scale? I guess a tractor would be needed to stir it up after the layers are starting to cool down? How often do you add the mushroom spoors? How do I grow enough mushrooms to do this without breaking the bank? Any ideas on large scale composting for 80 acres?
Also do I need to put inoculated wood in there? or will they grow on substrate in the compost.. There will be sawdust and wood chips in there also.
If you need to do this on a large scale then I recommend going to the next level of gourmet mushroom growing addiction. (I am on the 12 step recovery program now and only do log growing) Oysters are the easiest (and tasty) gourmet mushrooms to grow.
I can recommend a source online where you can buy some inoculated bags of grain. Mushroom Mountain (say hi to Tradd and Olga) or Field and Forest. Get the oysters that match the fruiting temperature with your expected temperature range for when you want to grow outside. You can ask the site for advice on the fastest growing variety and temperature range for your area.
You can expand the original colonized bag as much as a 1000 times (as told by Paul Stamets) and maybe more. A 5 pound bag can grow to 5000 pounds.
You will need to sterilize more bags of grain (Rye or oat works good) so you can expand the first bag up to 10 times. the moisture content needs to be 55 to 60% (aka field capacity). so for a 5 lb bag you need a little more water (by weight) than gain. The 5 pound bags are the norm. Your grandmom's pressure cooker is the key here to properly sterilize. (15 PSI/250F for 90 minutes). I am not sure if the new smart cookers get high enough pressure to sterilize. You can sterilize at lower pressures but it takes longer. I built a sterilizing drum that is at atmospheric pressure and takes 24 hours to sterilize 50 bags.
You can repeat this expansion again and get 100 bags this way. Continue expanding until your neighbors complain.
You will need the bags that have 5.0 micron filters to keep out other spores and molds. The sources mentioned above can help. The filters allow air in and keep bad stuff out. During the expanding the idea is to keep the "too little to see fungi and mold spores" from getting into the sterilized grain. You are creating an environment that is very nutritious and warm and wet so everything likes to grow in it.
Fun experiment. Get a petri dish and open it for an hour while in your cleanest room. Close the lid and see what grows.
In a very clean area (with little to no air flow and nothing floating around - misting with 10% bleach may help or do this inside a still air box or large clear bag), you can mix some of the original colonized grain in with the sterilized grain and seal the top (Wire wrapped around the neck works) and let it sit in a room with a little bit of indirect sunlight and at 68 to 75 degrees F. Wait a couple of weeks and when the bags are 30% white on the outside, you mix it up good and let it sit for another week or two, until it is fully colonized and almost pure white.
Ready for plugging into your piles but make sure that the piles are not hot. Mycelium does not like to be cooked and will only fruit when the temperature and moisture is right. Think of the mushrooms as only the fruit. what grows underneath is the tree. Fore remediation, toss the fruit and spread the tree around as compost.
I think there are many that can correct as needed and of course add to this.